The Tea Plant (Camellia sinensis)

Tea Plant

Also Known As: Tea Plant, Tea Shrub


Camellia sinensis is a species of flowering evergreen trees and shrubs whose small leaves are used to produce tea. Two major varieties are grown: Camellia sinensis var. sinensis for Chinese teas, and Camellia sinensis var. assamica for Indian Assam teas. Green tea, black tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea are all harvested from one or the other, but are processed differently to a attain varying levels of oxidation.

There are three factors that determine the characteristics of any tea. They are:

  1. 1.) The specific variety or cultivar of the Camellia sinensis plant
    2.) The way the leaves are processed
    3.) The terroir in which the plants are grown.

In the extremes, trees can grow over 50 feet tall and have been known to live a productive life of at least 100 years and live up to 150- 200 years in the wild.